On July 1st the LA Angels travelled to Texas to start a seven-game road trip. They were jolted hours before the first game of a four-game series with Texas when they found out that pitcher Tyler Skaggs had passed away.
It was a tough trip to say the least, but the LA Angels managed to play through their emotions and take two out of three from the Rangers which seemed to start the Angels on a winning streak. The memory of their fallen teammate still lingers as the Angels come back to Arlington hoping to continue their recent strong play as they have won six of their last nine games.
There will be some emotion for sure, but since the last time they were in Arlington the Angels have had a special night at Angel Stadium to honor Skaggs that saw the Angels play a perfect game scoring 13 runs and seeing Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined for a no-hitter. A week later the Angels attended the Tyler Skaggs Memorial service in Santa Monica. These two emotional events have helped the healing process for the team, but it is something that will be on the players minds for the rest of the season.
So how will the Angels respond to the latest hurdle in their emotional roller coaster ride? If they continue to get good pitching like they have of late and the hitters keep on their upward trend the Angels should be able to take at least three of the four games in the series including Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader that was necessitated by the cancellation of the Angels-Rangers game on the night of Skaggs’ death. The Angels send Dillon Peters to the mound in the series-opener. Jamie Barria and Andrew Heaney will pitch the two games of the doubleheader on Tuesday. FInally on Wednesday Patrick Sandoval will make his fourth start of the season and will face Rangers ace Mike Minor. The odds seem to favor the Angels in the first three games, the same cannot be said in the final game with the Rangers as Minor has pitched well so far this season.
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The Angels will again try to again pick themselves up by their bootstraps. After Skaggs’ death and the Angels put together a good streak of wins taking 12 of their next 18 games. Unfortunately just as quickly as the Angels seemed to climb back into the race they dropped right back out of it losing 13 of their next 15 games. It was tough to watch and I’m sure even tougher to be on the field playing the games night in and night out. The Angels as I mentioned earlier have won six of their last nine and hope to continue their strong play as of late. The Angels need to take advantage when they can.
Will Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and, Albert Pujols, and Mike Trout continue their hot hitting? Will the unsung heroes like Anthony Bemboom, Matt Thaiss, and David Fletcher continue to stay hot? Finally will the Angels starting rotation continue to see growth and be able to go deeper into games. I believe that this all happen and the Angels will take three of four games and head into the weekend series against the first-place Astros with a .500 record.
Not that the Angels will climb back into the wild-card races but it will a fun way to the end the season with the Angels playing solid baseball. Many fans have written the team off and it’s understandable with the way they have played through most of August, but now that they have righted their ship somewhat, they can use this momentum to make things interesting. Any way you look at it, it will be fun.